Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)


I Think We Just Found a Transformer!

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)One could ask why they keep making these Transformers movies.  If one were to ask that, one would also have to ask why I never miss one.  But neither of these questions are without answers.  They keep making these movies because they make bank, and I keep watching them because they’re fun.  Really stupid fun, but fun nonetheless.  Let’s see if they can keep that streak alive as I review Transformers: Age of Extinction, written by Ehren Kruger, directed by Michael Bay, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Peter Cullen, Kelsey Grammer, Mark Ryan, Frank Welker, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, John Goodman, John DiMaggio, Ken Watanabe, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, and T.J. Miller.

Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is a ridiculously-named struggling inventor/single parent out of Texas that comes across a beaten up old diesel truck that turns out to be the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen).  Having a Transformer in your midst has become quite a dangerous proposition as the head of an elite CIA unit named Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) has been tasked with hunting down the remaining Decepticons, but ever the over-achiever he has decided to hunt down Autobots while he’s at it, with the help of a Transformer bounty hunter named Lockdown (Mark Ryan).  Helping Optimus escape puts Cade, his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), and her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor) on the lam as they work with Optimus to uncover a joint effort between the CIA and a robotics corporation called KSI to build their own Transformers.

They did it again!  They made another Transformers movie that is completely stupid and poorly-written, but fun enough to make me look forward to the next stupid mess.  Let us not fool ourselves into thinking these movies are anything they’re not.  They’re so dumb, but they jingle their explosive keys in front of your face enough that you might not even notice that most of the people in the movie can barely string a sentence together.  But I noticed!  I notice when people say things like, “My face is my warrant.”  I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I heard them say it, and if they’re going to continue making people say things like that, I’m going to revoke their ability to make their characters say words in their movies.  It’s not like they need them, or use them correctly for that matter.  When they’re allowed to use words, they’ll sometimes even create their own words to equally stupid effect.  Like “Transformium.”  Not since I heard a person utter the word “Unobtainium” in a movie had a word caused my nose to bleed in a movie theater.

And that’s just the dialogue!  Don’t think that the plot itself was seamless.  I mean, we can all get behind the fact that it was Transformers that brought about the end of the dinosaurs.  Except those stupid scientists that think it was an ice age or a meteor, but we all know what’s up.  One thing I didn’t understand is how Tessa’s boyfriend Shane knew that he was needed at the Yeager farm when the CIA showed up.  And if Optimus could repair himself completely by just driving by a clean diesel, then why would he be in such bad shape when Cade found him?  I can’t be on the freeway more than about a minute without seeing a diesel but Optimus couldn’t have repaired himself on his way up from Mexico?

But like I said, I don’t see these movies for the words attributed to it.  The only words that would interest me in looking through a script for this movie would be while looking through the pages to see “explodes.”  This movie won’t let you down for that.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll still get a rush out of watching Optimus Prime bust out a sword and go to town on some bad guys, and you won’t be let down watching Bumblebee throw a boat at some baddies either.  The only real problem I took with the action in the movie was with the Dinobots.  When they showed up, they were awesome, but they took so long to get to them!  They didn’t really show up until the last 20 minutes of the movie.  They were the main reason I was excited to see this movie!  I appreciate that they made good with them when they got around to them, but it was so much two and a half hours of foreplay is a little extreme.  Oh wait, I had one other problem.  It was the part where the rally car jumped out of the window of that building with the most ridiculously convenient ramp in history.  Two I-beams pointing out a window, conveniently the same distance apart as the wheels on said rally car and, the exact same distance from the window as a rally car can jump, an inexplicably created half-pipe for it to land in.

The performances were all what they needed to be in this movie, and you couldn’t really expect or need much more than what they offered.  I still resent the silliness of the name Cade Yeager.  And, as if the name Cade Yeager wasn’t silly enough, he constantly tried to prove he deserved that name with equally silly things to say.  My personal favorite was his plea to a fellow inventor played by Stanley Tucci.  He says, “I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor, like me?”  What the hell is that supposed to mean?  Are inventors notoriously conscientious?  Sure, some inventors gave us great things like the car and internet porn, but someone also invented terrible things like the atomic bomb and Kristen Stewart.  The fact that he was an inventor didn’t really work out that well either.  The movie expects me to believe that he’s up to the task of aiding in the repair of an alien robot but all he’s ever been able to do on his own is make a robot that can shoot a basketball into a hoop and a robot that can transport a beer 4 feet in 20 minutes.  They also never really bothered to explain how an inventor (a job typically reserved for people that look like the cast of Revenge of the Nerds) turned out to be ripped like Marky Mark Wahlberg.  Nicola Peltz was kind of a twat as his teenaged daughter, but she was probably only there as the occasional eye candy.  Her boyfriend was a piece of shit too.  What kind of boyfriend would say, “I like to be fresh when I’m making out with your daughter,” to his girlfriend’s dad?  Even a dad that was not overprotective would beat your ass for that.  I had a couple problems with the Transformers as well.  I enjoy that Bumblebee typically only speaks in movie quotes, but when he says, “Hey you guys,” at one point in the movie how could you not have chosen the clip of Sloth from Goonies to say that?  Fail, movie!  I also didn’t understand the character Drift at all.  Why does the Bugatti Veyron turn into a Japanese Samurai?  I don’t know much about cars, but the name Bugatti Veyron doesn’t sound Japanese to me.

No logical individual could go into Transformers: Age of Extinction expecting much more out of it than what the movie delivers.  Fairly pointless story and terrible dialogue, but with plenty enough things exploding to make you forget how stupid the movie is because you’re having fun.  Shut off your brain and enjoy.  An active brain won’t help you enjoy this movie at all.  Transformers: Age of Extinction gets “You gotta have faith, Prime.  Maybe not in who we are, but who we can be” out of “Sweetie, get my alien gun!”

Visit www.RobertReviewsStuff.com for all your Robert Reviews Stuff needs, including WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and no much more!

Advertisements

Arachnophobia (1990)


A Web Would Indicate an Arachnoid Presence.

Arachnophobia (1990)Once upon a time, I rescued my super sissy friend Protestant from a spider.  Even though I would say that I have a fear of spiders myself (I wish there were a word for that), I drove to her house to protect her.  She is woman and I am man.  This is my station in life.  I beat that 8-legged mother fucker to death with my dick.  MAN STYLE!!  Then I ate raw steak off of a bone.  I’m such a fuckin’ man.  I spent roughly the next 2 hours mocking Protestant relentlessly (I guess you could say it was more like 2 years because I’m still doing it), and left for the evening.  About a year later, the experience of being so awed by my manliness had worn off and Protestant’s brain was freed up to think of requests.  And thus she requested Arachnophobia, written by Don Jakoby and Wesley Strick, directed by Frank Marshall, and starring Jeff Daniels, Harley Jane Kozak, Garette Ratliff Henson, Marlene Katz, Julian Sands, Mark L. Taylor, Roy Brocksmith, Henry Jones, James Handy, Brian McNamara, Stuart Pankin, Mary Carver, and John Goodman.

Doctor Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels) moves with his family to the small town of Canaima, California under the assumption that he will be taking on all of the patients of aging Doctor Sam Metcalf (Henry Jones).  Much to his surprise, Metcalf decides he no longer wants to retire once Jennings has moved in, screwing over Jennings and his family.  Margaret Hollins (Mary Carver) finds out about this and suggests that Jennings throw a “Get to Know Doctor Ross” party as Metcalf once did, getting Jennings lots of potential patients with public relations since he’s already a superior doctor.  Jennings tells Hollins that the medicine Metcalf prescribed to her was unnecessary, and Hollins later says that she’s never felt better.  But then she’s found dead in her home, and the people of Canaima start to infer that it was a misdiagnosis by Jennings.  …Oh yeah, and there are spiders too.

This wasn’t a great movie, but it was dumb in the best of ways.  It doesn’t act goofy, but it winds up being pretty goofy, and most of the scenes involving John Goodman make me believe that it was their intention to be silly, so I allow and enjoy it.  It feels a lot like the old creature feature movies I’ve seen Mystery Science Theater make fun of, and that’s probably what they were going for.  I actually started getting this movie mixed up for Giant Spider Invasion that I watched on MST.  It’s pretty goofy and pretty easy as well.  The title pretty much says all you need to know about the inspiration for the movie.  A lot of people are scared of spiders.  Make a movie with a lot of spiders and you already have plenty of people freaked out.  It never really managed to scare me as much as it kind of creeped me out, as simply seeing most spiders will do.  Though it doesn’t scare, it will probably make you shake out your underwear a little more than usual before putting them on.  Of course, its goofiness makes it fodder for jokes, so here are some I thought of.  The firecracker analogy the entomologist uses in the beginning of the movie is not the most apt of analogies.  Shooting smoke into a tree is not similar to throwing a firecracker into a pond.  Maybe if you threw a stick of dynamite into that tree, I’d be with you.  The entire premise of the movie seems ridiculous too.  The greater majority of spiders are more afraid of us than we are of them, and will generally only attack when threatened.  Not these dudes.  These mother fuckers are out for death!  This spider is literally watching the photographer step on his homie and decides that this mother fucker is going down.  Nobody fucks with Los Arañas, ese!  It sees this guy kill his friend, remembers him, hides in a backpack, singles him out specifically in the camp, kills him, and then drains the guy dry.  He’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger of spiders!  Then I took issue with the fact that Dr. Metcalf was talking about looking into medical malpractice against Jennings after he just made such a stink over not allowing an autopsy to happen.  I’m pretty sure you’d have to get some proof for medical malpractice, and there’s a certain procedure that’s best suited for proving such things and you just shat in its mouth.

The movie ends with a lot of conveniences that amused me as well.  It was convenient (all through the movie, technically) that the spiders always waited till the most pivotal moment to do something.  In the end it was convenient that they waited until it was climax time to burst out of every seam of the house when none had been seen in the house prior.  Then it was also convenient that only the big spider Jennings would have a prolonged battle with was home when he fell into the basement.  I know they kept saying that the spiders were territorial and typically only one would be in the nest area, but they all lived there mere minutes before, and now only one.  I also thought the movie had a real sign of the times at the ending.  They go back to the city and are enjoying wine in the living room when they leave because of some silly earthquake gag, leaving the camera to watch the wine bottle drain on the floor.  In today’s movie world, there would definitely have been some credit sequence reveal where a spider crawled out of the wine bottle, hinting at a sequel.  This movie at least was fine with just making one really goofy movie.

The look of the movie worked fairly well, but they started off using a lot of gimmicks to cover up the fact that their main spider was less than convincing.  They did a lot of just showing his legs at the edge of the frame because showing all of it would display wires or a dude’s hand in a spider glove or whatever.  Later, I found myself very impressed with the tricks they somehow got these spiders to accomplish.  There were a lot of shots of spiders lowering themselves from their butt webs onto things and spiders dragging sacks through windows.  It must be pretty difficult to train these things.  And these spiders really cover their bases when it comes to webs.  This one spider covers every fuckin’ inch of that farmhouse with web, catching everything from mice to bats, and I’m pretty sure there was a fuckin’ cat hanging in that web at one point.  These spiders that stick to corners are underachievers and deserve to starve to death.

They actually got some decent actors to play it straight in this movie.  You’d think they might either not try that hard or be a little goofy, but most of them just went straight with it.  John Goodman was a little goofy, but he was also very funny in the movie so I was okay with it.  He was probably the most consistently enjoyable part.  Julian Sands’ entomologist character was unconvincing to me, but mainly because he was the foremost expert in spiders and still let one catch him in the neck while he was playing with its web.  I was also excited to see that Grandma Gilmore (Frances Bay) and Mimi (Kathy Kinney) were in this movie.  …That is all…

Arachnophobia wasn’t a good movie, but it was a fun movie, and an effective movie.  The story was silly and not that complicated, reminding me a lot of old creature feature movies, but it was enjoyable to watch and it’s effective in that anything that lands on your skin will freak you out for a while.  The performances were all good, especially John Goodman.  This movie still holds up as a pretty fun watch, and even better if you’re looking to make jokes about something.  Arachnophobia gets “You think I was hoping you were ravaged by disease?” out of “Tear out bad wood.  Put in good wood.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

The Campaign (2012)


Because Filipino Tilt-a-Whirl Operators are This Nation’s Backbone!

My interest was piqued in today’s movie because of the two actors that starred in it, but I probably wouldn’t have gone to the theater for it.  I feel like I’ve been burned by one of the actors in the movie before, though the other has not really let me down just yet.  I guess I looked at the movie and just felt like I didn’t trust it to be worth my money, so I had set my mind to waiting to see it until it came out on DVD and I could get it from RedBox.  But when Friendboss Josh suggested we go see it, I decided to go.  I was on the fence anyway; I just needed a little nudge.  And that brings us to my review of The Campaign, written by Chris Hency and Shawn Harwell, directed by Jay Roach, and starring Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell, Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Dylan McDermott, Jason Sudeikis, Brian Cox, Katherine LaNasa, Sarah Baker, Jack McBrayer, and John Goodman.

Democratic Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has found himself in a sticky situation after he accidentally leaves a sexually explicit message meant for his mistress on the answering machine of a very conservative Christian family.  In response, the two corrupt businessmen that formerly backed Cam, brothers Glen (John Lithgow) and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd) decide they need a new candidate to run against Cam with their backing so that they can later manipulate him into letting them bring the Chinese tradition of sweat shop labor to America.  They pick Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), eccentric – and possibly gay – son of former politician and Motch brothers associate, Raymond Huggins (Brian Cox), and set Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) to be Marty’s campaign manager and hopefully fix the mess that is Marty enough to make him a viable candidate.  And so begins the battle for the Congressional seat of North Carolina’s 14th District.

When I left this movie, I found myself torn in regards to its quality, but Friendboss Josh helped me set myself straight.  I had gotten it into my head that the movie was underwhelming because there were points within this movie that I was not laughing, but then Josh reminded me that movies tend to feel the need to include story, which sometimes needs to be exposition and not laughs.  I don’t really know what I was thinking.  The only things that can pull off non-stop laughter are videos on YouTube with the word “Fail” in the title.  And Josh was kind enough to remind me that I laughed out loud on more than one occasion during this movie.  …But fuck Josh!  He doesn’t tell me what to do in a non-work setting!  I HATE THIS MOVIE!  Okay, I don’t.  When I got to thinking about it in the proper head space, I realized that I did find this movie funny enough to recommend for a viewing.  The story was pretty solid.  The tactics in the battle ramp up in new and mostly hilarious and preposterous ways.  I also found it very interesting that the guy we had liked from the beginning of the movie and the guy we hated started to trade places at one point in the movie, though it’s probably not that atypical of a thing to see in a movie like this.  And, though it goes mostly in the way you’d expect, the way it gets there is filled with enough solid laughs that it’s okay.  It would be no spoilers if you saw the trailer for the movie, but I probably laughed the hardest when Cam pulled a Raging Bull on that baby.  First because it was in slow-mo, and second because to Hell with that baby.  The only other part I can really remember making me laugh really hard was the part where Cam’s car had a painting of him sitting down on the side of his car, which I found hilarious.  There were plenty of other moments, but I took shitty notes.  I mean … I don’t want to ruin it …?

The performances were pretty much exactly what I expected them to be.  Galifianakis was probably not as funny as I’d want him to be, but I probably just hold him in too high of a regard.  I’ve loved him for a long time and I probably just always want him to blow my mind with his hilariousness.  The character he does in this movie is funny, but it’s also one I’ve seen him do in a few different places before.  I wouldn’t necessarily assume that the character would be able to sustain an entire movie, but it did alright and brought a good deal of funny.  I liked his awkward attempts to trash talk with Cam, but more of the actual funny came from Ferrell in that exchange.  Ferrell was also a pretty typical character for him, being the smug, stupid, douche nozzle type, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it well.  And he punched a baby right in its stupid face.  Speaking of stupid faces, how was Galifianakis’ chubby son in the movie able to pull off a perfectly round face?  He was like a Charlie Brown character.

Once my crazy expectations were put in check, I came to realize that I found The Campaign plenty funny enough to earn a recommendation.  The story was not unexpected, but contained plenty enough laughs, and that’s all a comedy really needs, and the same could mostly be said about the performances.  It’s not the most mind-blowing comedy ever, but it’s good, solid laughs and worth checking out.  The Campaign gets “Rainbow Land is a fictitious place!” out of “I’m Cam Brady, and I seductively approve this message.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Rage (2011)


Oh, I’ve Got Some Rage Now…

I was very excited to get my hands on this game since the moment I heard about it.  id Software has been one of my favorite developers since Wolfenstein in 1992, though they really stuck with me with Doom.  Quake was also a very good game.  When I heard that they were developing another game, I was already on board.  I saw a lot about it at E3, talking about the fact that all of their environments are hand painted and not just a random texture generator.  When it finally came to the store shelves, I didn’t buy it.  It was a busy holiday season for gaming and funds were tight.  But when it went on sale on Black Friday, the time had come.  This game is Rage, developed by id Software, published by Bethesda Softworks, and includes the voice acting talents of John Goodman, Dee Bradley Baker, Nolan North, Phil Lamarr, Tara Strong, and Claudia Black.

In the year 2029, an asteroid strikes the planet, killing a large amount of people.  The remaining people in the wasteland have huddled together in communities.  Some of them are just regular people, some of them are bandits preying on those regular people, some of them are mutants preying on anything.  There’s also an ominous authority figure called … what was it? … Oh yes, the Authority.  And, of course, there’s a resistance against them with the equally as clever moniker, the Resistance.  We play as a person that emerges from an Ark, buried deep underground and kept in cryostasis for 106 years.  We emerge and are greeted by a member of the Ghost clan (a group of violent bandits that look like Quan Chi from Mortal Kombat), but saved by Dan Hagar (John Goodman).  From this point on, we help people around various towns with their odd jobs to gain reputation in those towns.  Eventually, we join the Resistance and take on the Authority, who is hunting us because Ark Survivor’s apparently have access to something they want.

I was fairly devastated by this game, but the majority of the reason will be in the next paragraph.  This is a pretty classic first person shooter with not much by way of gameplay to separate it from the pack, but id Software arguably created the genre, so it’s all pretty smooth and comfortable.  They don’t add much of anything to the gun types.  They have the standard machine guns, pistol, shotguns, but they do add a boomerang type device called a Wingstick.  You could toss this out, get a decapitation, and have it return to you.  The weapon was nice enough, but it became pretty useless later in the game when it would only knock the enemy’s helmet off and allow them to keep shooting at you.  The enemies varied in type and look a large amount, ranging from bandits dressed like indians, bandits in armor, and the robotic, heavily-armored Authority.  Each one looked pretty different, and also moved different.  The mutants would run along walls and roll, making them difficult to shoot.  Part of the problem with this game is a problem I’ve had with other FPS games in recent history: the headshot.  There was a time when the headshot was all you needed to take out the regular enemies.  This first began to change when Dead Space came out, touting their strategic dismemberment and how a simple headshot would not be all it took to defeat your foes.  But I liked the headshot.  You have to be pretty good to get the headshot and you should be awarded for it.  This game makes the headshot pretty insignificant since most enemies are armored and a headshot would mostly just remove their helmet.  I want headshots to have their power back!  Especially since this game had a crossbow that the game claimed would help you get into locations with stealth, but without being able to one-shot kill your enemy with a headshot, a crossbow shot to the head just gets their attention and they start shooting, throwing stealth out the window.  The look of the game is pretty glorious.  Though you occasionally need to wait a beat or two for them to load up fully, you can see that they took the time to paint these textures.  The environments are ugly, but beautifully executed ugly.  What should you expect of the environments in a post apocalyptic game?  The game is kind of open world, allowing you to leave a town and drive around the wasteland a little, but there are certain paths to take and no real reason to do it unless you’re on a mission, so that turns it more towards linear.  The level maps repeat fairly frequently, but they make you take different paths through them and that keeps them fairly fresh.

::SPOILER ALERT::  It’s not much of a spoiler alert actually.  I won’t spoil the ending of this game because there wasn’t one.  I was playing through the second disc of the game, doing what felt like an average mission that might be closing the third act.  I get to the top of this structure, press a button, fight off mutants, press a button, fight off mutants, and then press the final button and … um … wait a second?  Where’d it go?  They completely forgot to write a ending.  You press that button, a cinematic plays of arks popping out of the ground, and the credits started playing.  For joking purposes, I half thought about stopping my review abruptly right about now, but then I realized how annoying that would be, which is something the people that made Rage didn’t realize.  It felt like it was rushed to completion, but I never saw the demand for this game reaching such a boiling point that they should decide to release it before it was finished, or crap out some really lackluster ending.  So why?  If you had the time, use it to make the game amazing.  Everything else in the game worked very well, but the ending was so disappointing that it tarnished my memories of the rest of the game.  ::END SPOILERS::

There is apparently multiplayer to this game as well, but the ending made me so angry I didn’t even look at it.  From what I can gather, it takes the mildly entertaining vehicle combat used during trips from one location of another in the game and makes you face off with others.  I don’t know, and I don’t care.

It’s not possible to call this game a complete loss.  It’s a gorgeous looking game with some of the tightest shooting mechanics you can find, as well as enemies that give an added degree of challenge with their acrobatic maneuvers.  It’s a completely satisfying game that you will really wish they had finished.  The ending is just so rushed and crappy that it makes me feel like I just wasted my time.  But I didn’t.  I say this game is worth a rental, but know what you’re getting yourself into by the time you reach the game’s end.  Rage gets “…

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Red State (2011)


Today I consider myself a professional movie reviewer because I received an early viewing of Kevin Smith’s newest and second to last movie, Red State.  …Okay, to be honest, I viewed it on iTunes in an early showing type thing for $10.  But still!  Red State stars Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, John Goodman, Kyle Gallner, Kerry Bishe, Michael Angarano, Stephen Root, and Kevin Smith’s wife, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith … and it rocks!

Red State starts off as the tale of 3 high schoolers lookin’ for some sexy time.  One of the kids, Jared (Kyle Gallner), finds a site on the interwebs where people can meet up to get laid.  The woman he meets on this site says she will take on him and his two friends, Travis (Michael Angarano) and Billy Ray (Nicholas Braun), so the 3 head out for some action.  On the way there, Travis accidentally sideswipes a car parked on the road and, when they go to investigate, a man pops up and startles them off.  Shortly thereafter, so does the man in his lap (GAY ROADSIDE NOOKIE!).  The 3 continue on and arrive at a trailer in the middle of nowhere where they are greeted by the woman, Sarah (Melissa Leo).  She accommodates them in her trailer with beers and the boys soon find out they’ve been drugged.  Meanwhile, at the police station, the man who was sideswiped earlier turns out to be the local law, Sheriff Wynan (Stephen Root), a closeted homosexual who can apparently oft times be found on the side of the road with men, unbeknownst to his wife.  He sends his deputy off to find the car that sideswiped him.

Jared wakes up in a cage, hearing a sermon.  He finds himself in the chapel of the Five Points Church, a group of religious nuts modeled after the Westboro Baptist Church.  The sermon is being delivered by their version of Fred Phelps, Pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks).  After his fire and brimstone “God hates fags”-type speech, he unveils a gay man saran wrapped to a cross and they proceed to shoot him in the head, dropping his corpse into a basement where Travis and Billy Ray are being held.  They then saran wrap Jared to the same cross.  Outside, the deputy arrives at the Five Points Church and sees the car that sideswiped the Sheriff.  The Pastor goes out to meet him and send him away.  Meanwhile, Billy Ray and Travis start to free themselves using the dead gay corpse’s exposed bone to cut their bindings.  Billy Ray leaves Travis to rot, but is soon shot by Ralph Garmin, who is then shot himself.  The deputy hears the shots and calls it in, and is then shot himself.  The Pastor threatens the Sheriff with photos of his roadside gayness in order to keep him silent.  The Sheriff makes a call and it gets to ATF Special Agent Keenan (John Goodman).  The rest of the movie is how self righteous, religious gun nuts react to someone trying to serve a search warrant to them.  Hint: it doesn’t go well.

I’ve got to say, I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan.  I own every movie he’s directed (yes, even CopOut) and I love the greater majority of them.  And lately, even more than his movies, I love him for his podcast/internet radio endeavors with Smodcast Internet Radio.  And, being an avid listener of Smodcast, I have been beaten over the head with this movie for a very long time now.  So when listening to his podcast and I realized I was still in time to catch this movie on iTunes, I could not pass up the opportunity.  So, let me say right now, Smith has not let me down.  This movie is great.  This is Smith’s first attempt to venture out of comedy (though his comedies have varied in comedic genre quite a bit) and into horror.  Well, he called it horror if memory serves.  I don’t know that I would call it horror.  It’s somewhere between horror and action to me.  I’d call it suspense.  This movie was absolutely riveting from start to finish.  As I usually do, I was attempting to play a video game while watching this movie on my computer, but I had to stop because my controller kept turning itself off from inactivity.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the thing!

This movie not only plays different from other Smith movies, it looks completely different.  A lot of his movies (Clerks excluded, of course) are pretty colorful movies.  This movie is dark and gritty, with a lot of the color really toned down, somewhat like what they did in Saving Private Ryan.  Also, as Smith himself tends to say, most of his movies don’t involve any movement for the camera.  And in a dialogue heavy movie as his usually are, that works fine.  This movie is filmed as if by a frantic bystander with a handheld camera and really draws the audience in to feeling like they are there amongst the religious craziness.

The acting continues the awesomeness of this movie.  A lot of the movie hangs around Kyle Gallner, and he is great.  I spent the entire movie trying to figure out where I’ve seen him, and it apparently was in the new Nightmare on Elm Street, Jennifer’s Body and the Haunting in Connecticut.  Good to see he’s finally allowed in a good movie.  Another big part of the movie is following Dan Connor … I mean John Goodman, who is also fantastic.  He had to be really conflicted about the orders he received in this movie and really did a great job, though I can’t say I expect much less from Goodman.  He seemed to have slimmed down a good amount for this movie too.  The driving factor of the whole movie has to be Michael Parks; a man most movie goers would recognize but not by name.  He was twice in Kill Bill and was pretty memorable in From Dusk Till Dawn too.  Oh man is he good in this.  He is freaky and charismatic at the same time, the kind of guy that would attract these kind of crazies.  And backing him up was recent award winner Melissa Leo who loses her shit after the death of her husband in this movie and may have freaked me out more than Parks.

If there was a complaint to be made of this movie, I’d say I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending.  I don’t want to ruin it because I think you should all see this in whatever method you can, but suffice to say the ending is a little deus ex machina and unsatisfying to me, but nowhere near enough to ruin the movie.  Saying more would ruin it, so I shan’t.  Go see this movie!  I was happy to give my money to this movie in order to support a man that has given me so much enjoyment in his other movies while he takes his movie away from the studio system and brings it straight to the fans where it belongs.  And if Kevin Smith hasn’t brought you enjoyment through his movies or podcast, then I’m not sure how we are even friends.

My personal kudos to Kevin Smith for a job well done.  I will happily be purchasing this movie when it is released on DVD.  In the meantime, if this review goes up while it’s still available on iTunes, I fully recommend you go rent it there or almost anywhere else video on demand can be found (I think it’s on X-box live, Playstation Network, etc.).  It was only 10 bucks for me, and let’s face it, that’s how much a movie costs anyway, and iTunes will save you the drive.  And Kevin Smith shot his wife in the face for this movie!  …Okay he only wrote it in the script, but I saw it happen in the movie!  I give this a “I highly doubt God hates fags, but Robert loves Red State” out of Eleventeen.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

The Big Lebowski (1998)


With my roommate back in town, the decision was made to rewatch The Big Lebowski, recently released in Blu-Ray. This movie has quite the star studded cast, including Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and many many more. It’s also a Coen Brothers movie and, at least so far as I’ve seen, they can do no wrong, so let’s dive right in.

The Big Lebowski is the story of the Dude (Jeff Bridges) who is a laid-back bowler on a bowling team with Goodman (a crazed, Jewish, Vietnam vet) and Buscemi (Shut the fuck up, Donny). The Dude gets confused for another Lebowski and is subsequently assaulted, threatened, and – worst of all – has his rug defiled. And that rug REALLY tied the room together. The Dude goes to the other Lebowski to get his rug replaced and kinda does. Then the other Lebowski’s wife (Tara Reid) gets “kidnapped” and the remainder of the movie is the situation getting more and more crazy around the Dude. But it’s okay, ’cause the dude abides, man.

This movie can be a little hard to follow at times, trying to figure out who’s doing what and why, but that’s really not the point, is it? This is a comedy, it’s purpose is to be funny, and it is. It should come as no surprise that I liked this movie as I’ve already said that, as far as I’ve seen, the Coen Brothers can do no wrong. Jeff Bridges portrayal of the Dude (though admittedly similar to ALMOST all of his other performances I’ve seen him in) is fantastic. He’s somewhat dimwitted, pretty clever, very comical, and totally laid-back. I like this dude Dude. I say it’s similar to his other performance only because I’ve only seen him in like 5 movies, and two of them are Tron. No one can say Rooster Cogburn had anything in common with the Dude beyond being awesome. John Goodman is awesome in this movie as well. He’s a crazy asshole Jewish Vietnam Vet. I could totally see hanging out with this guy even though he’d drive me nuts, especially because whenever he gets involved he makes things worse and doesn’t seem to realize it. Julianne Moore and Buscemi were also quite enjoyable, but of the lesser cast, I think Turturro stands out as Jesus. He would just pop in occasionally as an over the top antagonist stereotype, but was funny every time.

So I’m keeping it short here because I really don’t have much to say about a movie most people already know and love. Check it out if you haven’t already.